What Does Cave In Mean?

Cave In Meaning

Definition: To fall apart; to give way.

When something caves in, it falls apart. Oftentimes, when something caves in, the top of it falls down and crushes what’s beneath it.

Something that caves in is very different than something that is dismantled. If something caves in, it is destroyed by itself. If someone were to be inside of a building that caves in, he or she would most likely be hurt very badly.

A similar phrase is cave in to someone.

Origin of To Cave In

Meaning of cave inThis verb phrase can be traced back to use in the 1700s. Most likely, the term comes from actual caves. Caves in the earth often fall in on themselves, collapsing and preventing entry or movement. Nowadays, this phrase may apply to anything that falls inward like a cave.

Similar to cave in, you may also use the noun form cave-in. A cave-in is something that has fallen apart on itself.

Examples of To Cave In

Define cave inIf a house caved in on itself, the roof would fall down onto the living area. This might happen to a house damaged by fire or lightning.

An earthquake could also shake the foundation of a building so much that it caves in on itself. It may shake so violently that the top of the structure fall in on the rest.

The most dangerous profession when dealing with cave-ins is mining. Miners often have to take precautions so that they do not get lost or cut off from their teams when they experience an underground cave-in.

More Examples

  • Federal safety regulators cited S.J. Louis Construction of Texas for three violations of exposing workers to cave in hazards during a local excavation project. –Houston Chronicle
  • Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc., which is based in Schaumburg, was cited for one willful violation for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations… –Chicago Sun-Times


Something that caves in is collapsing on itself.